As Real Madrid fell out of the Champions League at the Etihad on Friday evening, Vinicius watched the entire match from the bench.
It was already a blow for the Brazilian to be left out of the starting line-up, but he certainly didn’t expect to spend the entire 90 minutes on the sidelines and to not even warm up.
Yet that’s what happened.
Of the 180 minutes of this last 16 tie, Vinicius played just 75 minutes and when he was substituted off at the Santiago Bernabeu, with 15 minutes to go in that first leg, his side were winning 1-0.
Since then, they went on to lose the tie 4-2 and the 20-year-old is frustrated at the Champions League exit and, while he isn’t angry at Zinedine Zidane, he is disappointed at his lack of playing time.
He had worked hard during lockdown and expected to start more often, especially considering Eden Hazard‘s physical state, but Vinicius only started four of the 12 matches since the return from lockdown and 17 of the 51 matches across the entire season.
There is a growing sense at the club that Zidane isn’t fully convinced by Vinicius, a feeling that stems from his return at the end of 2018/19 when he waited so long to give the youngster minutes even after he’d recovered from injury.
At a club level, though, Real Madrid still believe that Vinicius can be a key part of the project and the player thinks likewise, convinced that he can improve certain aspects of his game to make it in the Spanish capital and convinced that he doesn’t need a loan.
Yet there is interest from other clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain regularly enquiring about his situation.
The French side’s sporting director Leonardo would love to have Vinicius, even on loan, as he is surprised by his lack of playing time at Real Madrid.
Even two of the top six in the Premier League have asked about the Brazilian, but Real Madrid‘s response has been that there’s no issue.